The best teeth whitening product for you
Charcoal, toothpaste or LED lighting?
When it comes to the most effective methods of teeth whitening, there’s a huge amount of information out there. So how can you separate fact from fiction?
We’re here to bust the myths surrounding your smile.
Fiction: whiten your teeth using baking soda
From cleaning carpets to eliminating smells, baking soda is a kitchen wonder product. Also known as sodium bicarbonate, it’s also found in many toothpastes and teeth whitening products. So, can you skip the middle man and go straight for a serving of baking soda to whiten your teeth?
Fact: yes – but no
Baking soda’s chemical compound makes it a mild abrasive. While it’s effective at removing surface stains from your teeth, it won’t get rid of deeper, older stains.
With continual use, baking soda can also cause damage to your tooth enamel, and disrupts the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your mouth. Baking soda also doesn’t contain fluoride, essential for strengthening teeth and preventing cavities.
Fiction: tooth whitening damages your enamel
Contrary to popular belief, professional teeth whitening won’t strip away your enamel, however you do need to ensure you’re following the appropriate after-care procedures.
Fact: your enamel is safe (you just need to take the right steps)
Your enamel won’t be stripped, but as your teeth are exposed to chemicals that open up pores in your teeth, it will soften during the whitening process. It is essential that you avoid consuming any products that will stain your teeth in the hours following your treatment (and preferably, during the weeks in which you are undertaking treatment). This ensures the enamel will harden without absorbing anything that may stain the teeth. Sticking to a predominantly white diet (i.e. pasta, bread, chicken and milk) is recommended, while avoiding dark staining foods (i.e. red wine, spaghetti sauce, coffee and chocolate).
Fiction: all whitening kits do the same thing
Over the counter kits through to dentist gel – they all do the same thing, right?
Fact: you get the best results from professional whitening
The difference between what you pick up at the supermarket and what you can get from the dentist is down to ingredients. Many strips, gels, toothpastes and trays available at the supermarket have lower concentrations of bleach, and are legally bound by the amount of peroxide a product can contain.
The main advantage of dentist-administered whitening (undertaken either at home or in-chair) is that they are qualified to assess the status of your teeth, as well as identify any underlying problems you may have that could contribute to teeth discolouration. If you undertake dentist-administered whitening at home, you also receive custom-fitted trays. This gives you better control over the bleach, with less gum irritation.
In-chair teeth whitening also gives you the advantage of using stronger hydrogen peroxide bleach, usually enhanced with the use of a light or heat source such as laser, LED or halogen lamps.
Fiction: once whitened, always white
You’ve done the treatment and they look great. End of story, right?
Fact: you still need maintenance
You use them every day – so while your teeth will remain bright for quite some time after whitening, they still require maintenance. Professional teeth whitening may last up to 2 years before they show signs of fading, however many people choose to top up their teeth treatments once or twice a year.
To complement your new smile, qualified dental assistants (specialising in oral health) will be able to develop patient-specific oral hygiene programs, enabling you to maintain a pearly white smile for longer.